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Tax appeal clock ticks for Richmond, Greenwood Townships

Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:17 p.m. CDT

The first two McHenry County townships have published their assessments, setting the stage for property owners to begin the process of appealing the values that will help determine their 2014 tax bills. 

If you live in Richmond or Greenwood townships, you have until early July to appeal your property assessment with county government. If you live elsewhere in McHenry County, keep an eye out, because assessments are being published much earlier this year.

Property owners have 30 days from when their township’s assessments are published in a newspaper of record to appeal. Richmond Township property owners have until July 5, and Greenwood Township residents have until July 12.

The next two that are expected to publish are Grafton and Seneca townships, which County Supervisor of Assessments Robert Ross said will likely publish near the end of June.

Assessors for the county’s 17 townships are starting the process earlier this year, given the ever-increasing number of frustrated property owners who are appealing their assessments. Grafton Township last year published in late November and was the last township to do so.

McHenry County last year fielded almost 10,000 assessment appeals for this year’s tax bills. Property owners have broken consecutive records as property-tax bills have stayed the same or increased despite the fact that home values have plummeted.

Assessment appeals are heard by a board of review, which determines whether an assessment should be lowered. Tax bills cannot be mailed out until every appeal is settled and all parcels in the county have their assessments set.

Assessments, or one-third of a property’s value, determine a property owner’s share of county, municipal, school and other taxing districts’ extensions for tax bills due the following year.

A successful appeal and a lowering of a property’s value does not guarantee that a tax bill will decrease. A taxing body that has not reached its maximum rate can increase it to make up for decreases, and the township and state can impose a multiplier to increase everyone’s assessed value.

In the wake of the number of appeals, the Illinois Department of Revenue imposed a 2.43 multiplier on McHenry County for this year’s tax bills, meaning everyone’s assessments increased by that amount regardless of what they did or didn’t do to their property.

The tax cap, which was meant to help taxpayers by keeping taxing bodies to an inflationary rate of increase, hurts taxpayers when property values decline. When values decline, the cap ensures that governments can receive the inflationary increase if they so choose.

While some governments have spurned the increase, many others have made sure to take it. The rate of inflation that taxing bodies will be able to use for next year’s bills is 1.7 percent, according to the department of revenue.

State law gives township assessors until Oct. 15 to turn in their assessments to the county – five townships last year missed the deadline. But a new law that takes effect this year gives county assessors the power to seize the books and finish the job if a township misses it.

Richmond and Greenwood townships include all or parts of Richmond, Spring Grove, Greenwood, Wonder Lake and Woodstock.

Let the appeals begin

Deadlines are now set for property owners in two McHenry County townships to appeal their assessments.

• Richmond Township residents have until Friday, July 5, to appeal.

• Greenwood Township residents have until Friday, July 12.

Property owners have 30 days to appeal from the day that their township’s assessments are published in a newspaper of record.

Assessments for Grafton and Seneca townships are expected to be published later this month.

Source: McHenry County Office of Assessments

On the Net

Visit http://www.co.mchenry.il.us/departments/assessments/Pages/UnderstandingAssessments.aspx for information on the property tax process, as well as information on how to appeal an assessment.

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